Close to Highbury & Islington station, this cute little pan-asian restaurant is in one of my favourite areas of London. It’s nestled close to the boutique coffee chops around the main roundabout, and the numerous new openings on St. Pauls Road. The area is one to watch.
Relatively small, there’s only about 30 covers (to memory) in the Islington branch of Tootoomoo. The interior, decorated in reds and blues, with striped cushions and blue padded booths, wooden chairs and bright and colourful tiled tables, it radiated its eastern influence. The open front made it breezy during the longer late summer evenings. You didn’t mind too much that you weren’t sat outside making the most of the English summer. Which I know at the moment seems like it never existed!
Thursday evening wasn’t overly busy during our visit (I was out for a catch-up with Kim). So we managed to get a slightly larger table for our feast which was about to ensue.
Cocktails, of which there were several to choose from, were high on the priority list after a long day in the office. The Elderflower TooTooMoo was light and refreshing. Gin, sparkling elderflower & fresh mint, it satisfied the craving for something a little stronger. The wine and beer offering looked just as good. With buckets of four beers for £10 and wines from £5.50, we could have easily made a night of it.
The food menu wasn’t as easy to choose from. Purely due to being extremely hungry to the point where I was verging on hanger, all the options sounded so good.
Sharing helps with this a little. So began our feast of small plates and mains, all arriving at about the same time as requested.
The Crispy Smoked Chicken was one of my favourite dishes of the evening. Served with chilli salt and creamy spicy mayo.
The flavour strangely almost reminded me of a packet of prawn cocktail crisps from my childhood. The chicken strips had a slightly sweet taste with a small kick of spice. The spicy mayo was similar to a chipotle mayo with a smokey aroma running through.
The Chicken Pad Thai arrived almost deconstructed. It was delivered all on one plate but split into parts. With egg, chilli, assorted stir fried vegetables, crunchy peanut and lime for adding a squeeze, I’d never seen a pad thai served in this way before. Served with delicious coated fried tofu too, it was a fantastic pad thai and a generous portion.
The Edamame was fresh and juicy, with a good helping of sea salt. The Vegetarian Potstickers were rich with a great depth of flavour, all in a lightly toasted dumpling case. Served with ponzu, a citrus-based, slightly tart sauce and a small bed of veg sticks, the combination of flavours complimented each other well. Both great sides.
The Beef Rendang, rich, creamy and aromatic, had candlenut & sweet potato cooked into the dish too. The mouthwatering beef, extremely tender, pulled apart easily with the tines of the fork.
Chosen with a side of Japanese Brown Rice (smaller grains than other brown or white rice) served just cooked, it was something special. I do love a beef rendang and this one was packed with flavour and seriously delicious.
The signature frozen yoghurt is recommended to finish with, and we could tell why. Available in six different flavours, and served almost like a Mr. Whippy 99 but in a bowl, it tastes indulgent and the flavour is incredible.
The Pistachio and Oreo options, both potent in flavour – the pistachio my choice, and I would highly recommend this time and time again.
With small plates starting at £3.95, mains at about £7 and alcoholic drinks at £4, it’s pretty reasonable for its location. The food was absolutely delicious, the service helpful and efficient, and the place itself was cute and not too busy, making it a welcome escape from the usual bustling restaurants on a Thursday evening. I would highly recommend it for a more chilled location for a catch-up. In fact, as it’s so close to where Alex’s mum lives, I’m thinking of suggesting it to Alex for the three of us.
Have you been before? What was your favourite dish?
*I was Kim’s plus one for her review. All views my own.